Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

The Debate about The Core Curriculum


By Jakayla Mullin and his team

Is Core Curriculum Rotten?
Source: Best College Reviews

The relationship between Core Curriculum and college preparedness

Most educational experts agree that common core curriculum is not the solution to closing the achievement gap. Too bad politicians are the ones with a final say.

Common Core Curriculum is meant to be an equalizing force
But states with historically lower quality education systems are just falling farther behind.

  • With proficiency levels plummeting
  • In West Virginia: 35% failed exit exam for highschool
  • In Oklahoma: 33% failed

Algebra in the 8th grade is perhaps the biggest stumbling block

  • With 43% of New Mexico students falling below proficient
  • And 39% of Tennessee students

While core curriculum has improved performance in states with traditionally good educational systems, all of the unimproved states beg the questions…

Is core curriculum a one-size-fits all pathway governed by abstract government content?

  • Three main arguments for core curriculum
  • Students will learn more if their learning targets are set higher
  • Students will learn more if the passing grade for state tests are set higher
  • And students will learn more if lesson plans and textbooks are all made more complex and rigorous

or is it the great equalizing force?

History of Common Core

Historically, a dual educational system included vocational and college-bound tracks. Core curriculum is meant to bridge the gap between these tracks.

The conundrum: By forcing a standard (and harder) curriculum on all students, many students fall even farther behind, get discouraged and ultimately drop out.

Case study: Algebra

  • Common core teaches algebra in the 8th grade
  • During a plateau in childhood brain development
  • Making it much harder to deal with and retain new concepts

Rationale:students with algebra have more options when they graduate, and the earlier one takes algebra, the more advanced courses they can take before college.

In real life: Algebra at too early of an age turns kids off to math, and often becomes a cited reason for dropping out, ultimately leaving kids with less options.

Perspective: in the real world, how many times will an employer ask you for a proof of the quadratic equation?

Is the system really working?…Higher Education

  • Only 1% of the 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees awarded last year were in math
  • Coupled with the fact that only 58% of those that enter higher education graduate
  • Meaning only .0058 of those who enter college will successfully graduate as math majors
  • (That’s 58 out of every 10,000 matriculating students)

Think about it: with the well documented negative effects of forcing math at too early of a developmental stage, we could be weeding out the next Pulitzer prize winner, famed historian, or innovator by turning them off to school.

Children are emotionally vulnerable, and learn in many, many ways, but the only question in policymakers mind is how to keep up with other nations educational systems.

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/the-common-core-whos-minding-the-schools.html?pagewanted=2&src=recg&_r=0
  2. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/newsletters/0216_brown_education_loveless.pdf
  3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-common-core-standards-will-fail/2012/02/23/gIQATLgbUR_blog.html
  4. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013309rev.pdf
  5. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf
  6. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/03/common-core-curriculum-k-12-could-have-far-reaching-effects-higher-education
  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/is-algebra-necessary.html?pagewanted=all
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2 Responses »

  1. I am a former teacher and I have been studying the Common Core Standards as part of my doctoral program in Educational Leadership. This info-graphic is the worst misrepresentation of The Common Core Standards I have ever seen!
    Here is an example of the chop logic;

    “Only 1% of the 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees awarded last year were in math.” – so therefore we need to lower the math standards ?!?

    The problem is that we have so few students earning bachelor’s degrees in math, and other STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Too many students have not been well prepared for STEM. These fields of study are not just the future of our economy but they are what is required today.
    The USA is one nation. This is what we mean by “UNITED States” The students in Texas should not be given lower standards than the students in California. Lowering the standards for poor performing schools, districts, and states does not help the students to thrive in the 21st century global economy. We are one nation, we should have one set of standards so we can truly see which states are doing well and which states need to change.

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
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